News

A small flower has big reward for Laidley gardeners

IN FULL BLOOM: Shirley and Alan Small have developed an award-winning garden at their home in Laidley.
IN FULL BLOOM: Shirley and Alan Small have developed an award-winning garden at their home in Laidley. Ali Kuchel

A FROZEN bottle of water planted upside down in the soil was what got Alan and Shirley Small's garden through the harsh summer conditions.

Plants were feeling the strain of the heat, and Shirley says it's a trick they've used to keep a constant trickle of cool water to the plants on a hot day.

"You'd water overnight so they could rejuvenate but in the morning they'd all be wilted,” Shirley said.

But moving on from the heat, Alan and Shirley are now preparing their garden and orchards for the upcoming autumn and winter conditions ahead of the spring festival.

"I don't plant things until the end of May or beginning of June,” Shirley said.

"Because if we start and have a warm winter, everything will bloom quickly.

"You've sort of got to have everything start flowering in the second last weekend of August.”

Alan and Shirley are no strangers to garden competitions.

Prior to moving to Laidley 11 years ago, they lived in Gladstone and of course, they had a garden.

Shirley and Alan Small have developed a beautiful garden in Laidley.
Shirley and Alan Small have developed a beautiful garden in Laidley. Ali Kuchel

They purchased their block of land where they currently live and built a home, originally for their son while he was at uni.

But travelling from Gladstone to Laidley every six or so weeks, Alan and Shirley soon found themselves creating a garden.

They started with mango trees and Shirley discovered she could grow some of her favourite plants which didn't take to the central Queensland conditions.

They currently have about half an acre which is entered in Lockyer Valley garden competition, and the rest is orchards, boasting more than 50 mango trees, stone fruits, peaches, nectarines, plums and olives.

But you'll never see a red plant in their garden.

"I just have a dislike of red, in other gardens it looks good and I appreciate that colour when I go into another garden,” Shirley said.

"But I couldn't have red plants in my garden.”

Shirley and Alan Small in their Laidley Garden.
Shirley and Alan Small in their Laidley Garden. Ali Kuchel

Alan and Shirley spend about four to five hours in the garden every day and in summer they're often out until after dark.

Alan is the chief labourer and Shirley chooses the plants and colours - most of which boast strong pastel colours or hot pinks and blues.

"When it's time for the garden competition, Shirley colour plants,” Alan said.

"She has a certain taste for what colour goes where.”

But it's the love of gardening and achieving something that inspires Alan and Shirley.

"If you get frustrated it's good to get out into the garden and dig - then it disappears,” Shirley said. Shirley said just to get out and water (the garden) was relaxing.

Topics:  gardening laidley lockyer valley


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

What went on Up the Creek last weekend

Sienna, 6, Kelby, Izac, 8, and Claire Miller all got well into the festival spirit of the Mount Sylvia State School's inaugural Up The Creek festival.

Spot yourself in our gallery of pictures from the event.

Growcom shines light on updates to horticulture code

POTATO PICKERS: File photo of a Queensland potato farm. Mr Bishop believes the new code will clamp down on dodgy business practices in the horticultural industry.

One Upper Tenthill farmer said the changes will be "good for all”.

Meet Gatton's gorgeous cop and stunner girlfriend

Mason Jago and his girlfriend Tayla Lange.

We talk dogs, day-trips and community policing with Constable Mason

Local Partners

Boy, 15, arrested after stolen BMW highway pursuit

UPDATE: A teenage boy is one of three people arrested in dramatic scenes on the Warrego Hwy earlier today.

Jemma's bewitching voice

STAGE PRESENCE: Suzie Mathers and Jemma Rix in a scene from Wicked The Musical.

Wicked musical theatre star Jemma Rix has released her debut album.

This laughter yoga video will have you in fits of giggles

BEST MEDICINE: Karen Flannery is spreading happiness through laughter throughout Hervey Bay.

New members needed for a laughing good time

Dancers show off skills at Toowoomba Eisteddfod

Milla Rowbotham and Rebecca Gill from All Star Dance Academy .Toowoomba Eisteddfod, Empire Theatre. August 2017

Poems and dances dominated the 72nd City of Toowoomba Eisteddfod

Liz Hurley, 52, has never looked better

YOGA poses in teensy bikinis, sultry selfies and topless sunbathing — life in your 50s has never looked as good as it does on Liz Hurley right now.

Big Bang Theory star spills details about Season 11

Mayim Bialik plays Amy Farrah Fowler on The Big Bang Theory.

MAYIM Bialik has shared some details about what fans can expect.

The Bachelor Australia: Awful joke leaves Matty stunned

Sharlene’s mouth hangs agape after her car crash breakup.

I’m actually one of the bachelorettes — I’m not the external caterer

Samsung set for bigger, beach friendly Note 8

Samsung will be going bigger than ever to launch its Note 8 after this year's launch of the S8.

Water, dust, now sand-resistant?

GoT fan’s epic ‘Littlefinger’ theory

A fan has shared her epic theory on Littlefinger.

SPOILER ALERT: One fan has shared a shock theory.

OPINION: Bachelor really crossed the line

Leah Costa, 24, admitted she felt ‘degraded’ by her treatment on The Bachelor.

Leah’s abrupt Bachelor exit is slut-shaming at its worst.

Marvel stars tease superhero epic

The four year wait for Marvel's The Defenders is over.

The Defenders stars on their long-awaited superhero team-up.

EXPLAINED: What the 'Costco effect' means for Ipswich

PRICE WARS: A Costco store similar to this one in Canberra, is planned for Ipswich.

Exclusive 'cult' about to change how families do grocery shopping

4800 homes to be built in massive new Coast estate

Masterplanned community full steam ahead - it's not Caloundra South

Open for inspection homes August 17 - 23

Check out this weekend's homes open for inspection.

Airbnb, Stayz and co tipped to squeeze Coast housing market

HOLIDAY BOOM: Airbnb letting is putting a further squeeze on long-term rentals.

Councils exploring options to manage the industry

How we got a rental straight away on the Coast

Rita and David Allara, moved down from Townsville, paid three months up front rent to secure the place at flash new unit block in Kings Beach.

Genius move helps secure rental property

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!